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The gothic genre -   Art and Architecture
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The gothic genre - Art and Architecture



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  • Perhaps one of the most eye-catching features of Gothic architecture is the figures of the grotesques, the gargoyles. Although they fit every stereotype about evil creatures, they are instead guardians of the structures which they inhabit. A gargoyle is the carved termination of spouts which convey water away from the sides of buildings. However, similar sculptures that do not work as waterspouts are and simply ornamental are called chimera. Nowadays it is common for both types of carvings to be referred to as gargoyles. Perhaps one of the most eye-catching features of Gothic architecture is the figures of the grotesques, the gargoyles. Although they fit every stereotype about evil creatures, they are instead guardians of the structures which they inhabit. A gargoyle is the carved termination of spouts which convey water away from the sides of buildings. However, similar sculptures that do not work as waterspouts are and simply ornamental are called chimera. Nowadays it is common for both types of carvings to be referred to as gargoyles. Like Gothic architecture, Gothic literature focuses on humanity’s fascination with the grotesque, the unknown, and the frightening, inexplicable aspects of the universe and the human soul. The Gothic "relates the individual to the infinite universe" (Varma 16) and creates horror by portraying human individuals in confrontation with the overwhelming, mysterious, terrifying forces found in the cosmos and within themselves. Gothic literature pictures the human condition as an ambiguous mixture of good and evil powers that cannot be understood completely by human reason. Thus, the Gothic perspective conceives of the human condition as a paradox, a dilemma of duality—humans are divided in the conflict between opposing forces in the world and in themselves. The Gothic themes of human nature’s depravity, the struggle between good and evil in the human soul, and the existence of unexplainable elements in humanity and the cosmos, are prominent themes in Frankenstein . Sticking out along the cornices of many Gothic Cathedrals are little beastly beings with angry madcap faces known as Gargoyles. It is safe to say they are not poised there, eyes outward, gnarly teeth at the ready, for their health. They are certainly meant as sentries, presenting a sort of anti-evil force field to protect the precious and fragile faith of the mighty but not invulnerable Lord. Arising from the Latin word "gurgulio" the word literally means throat and also the sound water makes passing through the throat. It French is comes from the same root as gargle. Thus, a true Gargoyle is a fountain, or at least something that conveys water through itself, sucking it up-and spitting it out. Technically, those serried beasts we see lining up along the highest edges of Gothic structures are not gargoyles, since they don't spout for the most part, but rather they are called Grotesques. Over time the term gargoyles seems to have encompassed these grotesques, and so for the purpose of this entry on the subject, gargoyle may in fact be considered a synonym for a grotesque.


  • 1. TTS SENIOR LIBRARY 2011 What are the origins of the Gothic novel?
  • 2.
    • To understand the Gothic novel you need to consider the background and history of the word
    • ‘ Gothic’
    GOTHIC NOVEL ORIGINS Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Gothic
  • 3. GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottgunn/327285387/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Notre Dame Cathedral Paris – an example of Gothic architecture
  • 4.
    • For Western Europe, the Dark Ages was a time of regression. Shrouded in violence and disease, the infrastructure, trade, medicine, employment and education all depleted as the Roman Empire fragmented under warring tribes .
  • 5. GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE Image sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Normans_Bayeux.jpg http://www.getting-medieval.com/.a/6a00d8341c98c253ef013488177fbd970c-pi http://www.allaboutgemstones.com/jewelry_history_middle_ages.html
  • 6.
    • In the Renaissance, medieval architecture was compared with the Classical style (Greeks and Romans) which was much admired for its well ordered structures based on symmetry and other mathematical rules and for its simple, pure lines . Medieval architecture was viewed negatively and was considered chaotic, ornate, exaggerated, crude and barbaric in style. It was called Gothic as an insult!
  • 8. GOTHIC SPIRES Lichfield Cathedral Image Source: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6018/6014596043_16b3276458.jpg Medieval architecture had soaring spires probably representing an ambition to go beyond human limitations and reach the divine .
  • 9. GOTHIC SPIRES Image source: http://static.flickr.com/91/206882648_7415fc00a5_b.jpg Duomo Milan
  • 10. FLYING BUTTRESSES Sources: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4090/5053497552_57b1880343.jp Santa Barbara Czechoslavakia Flying buttresses were added to the external walls. Although not particularly attractive, they had a very important function. With them, structures could go higher (without the walls collapsing) and this allowed the interior space to be larger and more open.
  • 11. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonjon/2462354480/sizes/m/in/photostream / Holyrood Abbey Sources: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scoobyfoo/269033344 / Doumo Milan FLYING BUTTRESSES
  • 12. VAULTED ARCHES Source: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3111/2727200273_f0bc721650.jpg Salisbury cathedral The rounded arches of classic architecture were replaced by pointed ones. Again these changes were very functional, they were more effective at channelling the weight onto the columns supporting them. This allowed architects to create much higher ribbed vaults.
  • 13. VAULTED CEILINGS Sources: : http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3598/3611495934_83311cf139.jpg http://hercules.gcsu.edu/~rviau/ids/Artworks/England/Exeter/exteriordetails/exteriordetail06.jpg Gloucester Cathedral Exeter Cathedral
  • 14. Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/r80o/4387087/sizes/m/in/photostream / With a greater expanse of thinner walls, windows became a more prominent feature & allowed the buildings to have more light. Many windows used stained glass to depict religious scenes in vibrant colours. STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
  • 15. STAINED GLASS WINDOWS Sources: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3489/4606687412_de9f7757ba.jpg http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3479/3740497060_57daeda293.jpg
  • 16. Image source: http://hercules.gcsu.edu/~rviau/ids/Artworks/France/Notredame/Gargoyles/gargoyles17.jpg GARGOYLES Medieval churches often covered with grotesque carvings of demons, gargoyles and monsters. These sometimes served as waterspouts but generally were there to protect the building from evil forces.
  • 17. GARGOYLES http://farm1.static.flickr.com/68/281719007_b5954b5397.jpg Sources: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5021/5835467605_8b3d9ded3e.jpg http://farm1.static.flickr.com/1/492394_49fdb8a31b.jpg http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3370/5835468959_f6ba2a0bb2.jpg
  • 18.
    • Looking at these grotesque sculptures, it is easy to see why Renaissance writers considered these and all the other features of medieval architecture, to be tasteless and barbaric.
    • “ The besotted taste of Gothic monuments,
    • These odious monsters of ignorant centuries,
    • Which the torrents of barbary spewed forth.”
    • Molière
  • 19. Image source; http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2496/3850981082_e497d4834a.jpg GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE
  • 20.
    • Gothic art had its origins in Gothic architecture and developed through sculpture to textile art and painting which included stained glass, fresco, illuminated manuscripts and oil paintings. Renaissance artists like Raphael and writers such as Vasari considered medieval art to be chaotic, monstrous, barbaric and superstitious and gave it the derogatory label Gothic, which stuck !
  • 21. Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Cenral_tympanum_Chartres.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/41/Torun_SS_Johns_Mary_Magdalene.jpg/450px-Torun_SS_Johns_Mary_Magdalene.jpg Mary Magdalene St Johns Cathedral Torun The Western Portal Chartres Cathedral GOTHIC ART: SCULPURE
  • 22. Sources: http://www.medievalscript.com/category/books-of-hours/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/dis-order-ed/5531232455/sizes/m/in/set-72157626278062722/ Illuminated manuscript :Hours of Catherine of Cleves 13 th century stained glass: Bourges Cathedral France GOTHIC ART: PAINTING
  • 23. GOTHIC ART: PAINTING Image sources: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/Simone_Martini_071.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/Venanson_-_Chapelle_Sainte-Claire_-_Fresque_-3.jpg Oil painting: Miracle of the child attacked and rescued by Augustine Novello 1328 Simone Martini Fresco painting: Venanson - Chapelle Sainte-Claire
  • 24. Much of medieval art had a religious focus , although in late 14th and 15th centuries Gothic paintings did begin to depict secular scenes such as hunting and historical events. The religious content was often created to teach specific moral and spiritual truths . A late Gothic artist from The Netherlands, Hieronymus Bosch, depicted sin and the evil of man by creating scenes with demons, half-human animals and machines. These were quite gruesome and aimed to cause fear and perhaps confusion. GOTHIC ART: PAINTING
  • 25. GOTHIC ART: PAINTING BOSCH Hieronymus: ‘Hell’ The Garden of Earthly Delights (details ) Sources: http://lisag123.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/delightd.jpg http://cgfa.acropolisinc.com/bosch/bosch28.jpg
  • 26. GOTHIC ART: PAINTING BOSCH Hieronymus Last Judgment Triptych (Detail) 1504-1508   Image source: http://worldart.sjsu.edu/media/images/ner08_netherlands_ren/ner08034.jpg
  • 27. GOTHIC ART: PAINTING BOSCH Hieronymus: Last Judgment Triptych (detail)1504-08 Sources: http://www.wga.hu/art/b/bosch/8lastjud/1lastjuy.jpg http://www.wga.hu/preview/b/bosch/8lastjud/1lastjux.jpg
  • 28. GOTHIC ART: PAINTING BOSCH Hieronymus The Seven Deadly Sins (detail)1480; Death and the Miser, approx. 1490 Sources: http://www.wga.hu/art/b/bosch/2deadly/7deadly3.jpg http://cgfa.acropolisinc.com/bosch/bosch2.jpg
  • 29.
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_art Accessed 23.09.11
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_architecture Accessed 23.09.11
    • http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/mgot/hd_mgot.htm Accessed 23.09.11
    • http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/239728/Gothic-art Accessed 23.09.11
    • http://www.hieronymus-bosch.org/ Accessed 23.09.11
    • http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/romantic/topic_2/welcome.htm Accessed 23.09.11
    • http://smarthistory.org/1700-1800-Age-of-Enlightenment.html Accessed 23.09.11
    • Hieronymus Bosch, c.1450-1516 : between heaven and hell / Walter Bosing. Taschen (2004)
    • Architecture - a visual history / James Neal.   PRC 1999
    • The Gothic / David Punter and Glennis Byron. Blackwell. (2004)
    • A Companion to the Gothic edited by David Punter. Blackwell. (2001)
    • AQA English Literature B (A2) Adrian Beard & Pete Bunten Nelson Thornes 2008
  • 30. Credits : Jacqui Makselon, Director – TLRC Tanglin Trust School, Singapore